Doukhobor Cabbage Rolls

Doukhobor Cabbage Rolls

Serves 8-10

In the mosaic of festive gatherings, there’s a dish that transcends the ordinary, a culinary heirloom whispered through generations—the Doukhobor Cabbage Rolls. Picture plump cabbage leaves cradling a symphony of rice, herbs, and secrets passed down like treasured tales. These rolls aren’t merely sustenance; they’re a journey through time, a nod to the Doukhobor tradition woven into each savory fold. Inspired by the gentle alchemy of family kitchens, this dish invites you to savor not just the flavors but the legacy of communal tables and shared stories. Enjoy this recipe from Emillie Parrish’s cookbook Fermenting Made Simple.


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 lb (454 g) mushrooms, sliced in half then chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 carrot, grated
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 cup (250 mL) long-grain white rice
1 cup (250 mL) red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 quart (1 L) water
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh dill leaves
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh curly leaf parsley
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) dried bread crumbs

1 (28 oz/796 mL) can chopped tomatoes
½ medium-sized yellow onion, roughly chopped


  1. To make the filling, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and sauté until they start to soften, 2 minutes. Add the celery, green pepper, carrots, and garlic and sauté until they also start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the rice and lentils. Pour over the water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer, covered, until the rice and lentils are cooked, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat. Stir in the herbs, salt, and pepper. It won’t taste as salty as you might expect. However, don’t add extra salt at this point, because the fermented cabbage leaves will provide most of the salt for this dish. Set the filling aside to cool while you make the sauce.
  4. Place the canned tomatoes and their juice and the onions in a blender and blend on high speed until completely smooth. Add the cream and sugar and pulse to combine.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) while you form the cabbage rolls.
  6. Grease the bottom of a large (4 quart/4 L) casserole dish or several smaller baking dishes.
  7. Using a small paring knife, cut the leaves off the sour cabbage at the core and slowly peel each leaf from the head. (The core of the cabbage is delicious. I recommend slicing it up and enjoying it as an appetizer.)
  8. By now the filling should have cooled slightly. Finish it off by mixing in the eggs and bread crumbs.
  9. To form the cabbage rolls, lay a leaf out on the counter. Place 2–4 Tbsp of filling in the centre of the leaf (depending on the size of the leaf). Fold the bottom of the cabbage leaf over the filling, then fold over the sides of the leaf and finish rolling to the end. If the leaf is really large, slice it in half. The leaves are quite salty, so it’s important to not have too much cabbage in each roll.
  10. Place the cabbage rolls in the casserole dish. It’s fine to layer them one on top of another if necessary. Pour the sauce overtop. You want the liquid to just cover the cabbage rolls, so add a bit of water if necessary. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for another hour. Serve with sour cream.

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Recipe from Fermenting Made Simple by Emillie Parrish. Copyright © 2022 by Emillie Parrish.